Inside a mouse’s balls

Yesterday, I got a bit distracted from my work.  I had a standard Dell USB optical mouse that I liberated from a users desk because it was so nasty and sticky that I refused to use it.  I gave them a new one.  But of course that left me with the nasty sticky mouse which also had smooth spots worn into the two mouse buttons.

I also had an even older Dell USB ball mouse that worked just fine but no one wants old style mice with balls.  It had a nice clean black top half and was the exact same size and shape as the optical version.  At least on the outside. So I thought I’d clean off the funk from the bottom of the optical mouse and put the nice black top from the ball mouse on that.  In theory it’s very simple.  In reality it’s really freaking hard.

Even though the outsides of the two mice were physically shaped the same, the insides were different.  There were plastic support posts and wiring in different locations in each mouse.  I used a straight blade to shave down plastic edges and cut off supports.  I had to rearrange some wiring and eventually use a little brute force to get the new hybrid mouse to close up.  I was only partially successful the first try as the right mouse button wouldn’t press.  The second try after a bunch more cutting was a complete success.  It’s a pretty sharp looking mouse now with it’s flat black top and it’s smoky opaque bottom.

Then of course, I have to completely disassemble the remaining parts.  Which of course starts with removing the old mouse ball.  It made me realize that optical mice were probably the best thing to ever happen because mouse balls were stolen constantly.  I have no idea why or what people did with all those stolen balls but every store you went in with a PC on display, you’d try and move the mouse and immediately find that the ball was gone.  Even attempts at gluing the ball in rarely had the desired effect.  Optical mice changed all that of course and those damn ball thieves were thwarted once and for all.  You know who you are.

Mouse ball

A new thought occured to me once I got the mouse ball.  Why is it so heavy?  I never thought about before when mouse balls were the only choice, but now that I hadn’t handled a mouse ball for so long, I was intrigued by it’s weight.  I bounced it against my wood-like desk and it popped like a metal sound.  So I decided to see for myself.  I grabbed the straight blade and started slicing it around it’s circumference.  I thought it might be metal inside but once that razor sharp blade starting grinding against something that set my teeth on edge I knew it was.

Mouse ball insides

So there’s a metal ball bearing hidden inside there.  That also explains why old mice feel so much more substantial than new optical mice and also why some high end gaming manufacturers have started putting weights in their new mice.  It makes a big difference.

Perhaps you’ve never wondered about this and certainly don’t care now that the age of eunuch mice has taken over, but now you know.  And knowing is half the battle.  Considering that quote is from G.I. Joe, I can only assume that the other half the battle is the guns, explosives, killing, wounding, etc.  They never really said.

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4 Responses to “Inside a mouse’s balls”

  1. yoshi says:

    Huh. imagine that. metal balls. Taht’s pretty damn slick.

    That reminds me of a time when I was working at Babbages, and this old lady comes in, and asked us, “Do these mice have balls?” After which much laughter ensued and the old lady of course was instantly infamous as the “mouse lady”. Ah, good times.

  2. Jim says:

    I have a similar story. My uncle George was a navy man and after he retired to Arizona took up golf. We went to visit him one year and while there I accompanied him as a caddy on an outing. While waiting at a tee a conversation started with the group behind us. A lady golfer, on finding out he was from St Louis inquired about playing golf in the colder months. Thinking he would be playing in the snow , she posed the question “Do you have red balls ?” He looked at me and after a pause said “Only when it is really cold….”. He was a character.

  3. Colin Brooks says:

    Dude! That title is so wrong! I used to have a few balls like that left from old mice and I used to love playing with them.

    Did that come out wrong? Wait, what do I care? I’m drunk.

  4. Joseph says:

    I have a few questions:

    1. Did you fix the ball so you could still use the mouse?
    2. If you didn’t fix the ball, then were you able to order a replacement one?

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